Sales on the Russian eyewear market are yet to recover to the pre-crisis level, but in some regions, the picture is better than in the others.

For instance, the demand for eyewear in the Russian south, primarily in Krasnodar Krai, is higher than usual at this time of the year, Anton Kharchenko, owner of the Russian eyewear retailer Kalinza said. The company runs stores in central regions of the country in Kursk and Izhevsk, and in Siberia, in Novosibirsk, with outlets in Krasnodar Krai currently posting the best operational performance, he added.

The sales were above expectations in June and July in this part of the country, Kharchenko said. In other regions, eyewear retailers are witnessing a 15 percent reduction in sales, while some of them report a 30 percent decline compared to January 2020, he added.

The Russian south has been experiencing a record-breaking tourist inflow over the past few months. International travel restrictions resulted in several million Russian citizens opting to spend their summer vacations in Sochi, Anapa, and Crimean resorts. Local market players report that this has fueled sales in almost all retail segments, but this trend is likely to be short-term and wind down with the end of the holiday season in October.

The retail lockdown, to some extent, has changed consumer habits. Customer traffic has shrunk, but the average order size is bigger than before the pandemic.

Large landlords have agreed not to charge rent payments to Kalinza, but small local space owners were not so forthcoming, Kharchenko said. The company also obtained substantial aid from the Russian government and intends to use the money for its development, he added.

In general, the situation of the Russian eyewear market “is not very good,” prompting some weak companies and underperforming stores to close, Kharchenko said. Nevertheless, Kalinza plans to expand its retail chain in the near future.